I’m spending the weekend with my family. I’m guessing we’re not the only ones trying to squeeze a little bit of extra summer into these waning weeks.
One of my favorite Sunday posts is my Friend Mine post, and knew it would be a great Gina’s Favorites post. You can read my Friend Minepost below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read Friend Minein its original location.
We all know that to receive love is a great gift. But, I think that often the greater gift is gained when we give love.
I’m not talking about the mushy, sweet romantic stuff we gush for our one and only, although that kind is very nice.
I’m talking about the strong, glowing, giving kind of love that reaches out to those around us. The kind that looks for those who need help. The lonely. The lost. The hungry. The sad. The weak. the misunderstood. The exhausted. The depressed. And, many more.
I’m talking about the kind of love that sees a need and makes it its business to not only fill it, but to also preserve the dignity of every individual it has the privilege of serving.
It really is a privilege to demonstrate love to those around us. It’s an honor to love those who need it, especially those who don’t seem to deserve it or even want it.
And, it’s something anyone can do in their own way. In fact, it’s best if we all demonstrate love for the people around us in our own way.
A listening ear. A concerned query. A box of food. A ride to the doctor. A warm smile. A mowed lawn.
There are as many different types of love needed as there are people.
I thankful I’m Loved.
I realized this week that in my harried life I have let my sensitivity to the needs of the people around me drop a bit. I’ve been so busy rushing that I’ve missed opportunities to even assess the needs of others, much less meet them.
I’m scheduling in some margin to allow for love, to allow real life to seep in, to truly absorb it, so that I can demonstrate it to others. I must plan time to turn what sometimes feel like interruptions into opportunities to show caring.
Love is an action, and action takes time.
I want to get back to giving that gift.
After all, if I don’t have time to show the love I’ve been shown to the people around me, what’s the point in me being here at all?
How are you showing love this week? Has someone demonstrated love to you in a special way? Do you have a need? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
Some guys I know (and some I don’t) are hitting on an important topic of late: Depression. I’ve put links to their posts, and two of mine, below.
If you or someone you know might me suffering from depression, check out the posts, and their links for resources to help.
May you see beauty today that you never noticed before.
May you shine brightly where you are.
May joy flow forth from you to those around you.
Have you seen anything with new eyes lately? Have you reached out to someone in a new way? Have you seen beauty somewhere that you never noticed it before? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
I suppose my being exhausted might have been a contributing factor to my quick and thorough jump to irritated, completely skipping empathy and humor along the way.
I’d called home as I left the doctor’s office with my second youngest son to see if the four of my kids who were home wanted me to pick up take out for dinner for them.
As the ill child of the day, my second youngest son had the privilege of picking the establishment we would patronize that evening. But, a painful rash and a case of wheezing were distracting him, and he was having a terrible time deciding what he wanted to eat.
When my youngest answered the phone, I asked him what he wanted to eat. Apparently, he mistakenly thought he was in charge of picking the take out place, instead of just offering a suggestion to his brother as to where to pick dinner from.
Turns out that the food from the chicken place my youngest suggested would have been difficult for the ill child of the day to eat, as his rash made opening his mouth very far painful. So, we went to a place famous for their sandwiches and chili fries instead.
My youngest immediately expressed annoyance at what he saw as a change in plans and told me he didn’t want anything. I figured he was tired and hungry and would change his mind when I arrived home with the food. I ordered him the ham and turkey sandwich he loves.
But, when we got home, my youngest not only was sulking, he refused to eat any of the food I brought.
I figured his hunger strike was fueled by tiredness and a tummy filled with snacks while I was at the doctor’s office with his brother. Surely, he’d be his usual, grateful self in the morning, and be thrilled to find his sandwich waiting for him in the fridge.
Well, Disney didn’t write this story, and my youngest son, even while in the midst of inhaling the sandwich I’d bought him, continued to express unhappiness that his choice had not been purchased and showed a complete (and I must note uncharacteristic) ungratefulness for what had been given to him.
I took a note from the martyr-mom handbook and gave him a snippy lecture about gratefulness and my disgust at his lack of it.
How could he while holding his favorite, and I might add way over-priced, sandwich in his hand not only fail to appreciate what he had, but to lament something he thought was better? How could anyone do that? How could such a complete lack of gratefulness happen in my house?
And, then I thought about the shampoo.
My husband was going to the store one afternoon, so I asked him to pick up my shampoo for me. He did. Except, he got the wrong kind. It was close, but not what I’d asked for. How grateful had I been for his effort? Not the least bit.
Have I been grateful for our more than adequate supply of clothes or have I been only complaining about the laundry?
Have I been thankful for the means to buy supplies for meals or have I been focused on the chore of making yet another dinner?
Have I been thankful for the privilege of having a house full of children or have I been lamenting the inconvenience of dealing with sassy teens and messy bathrooms?
I have everything I need in my life. Everything.
I have much of what I want.
Countless prayers I’ve spoken have received a “yes” from my Heavenly Father.
There are so many who would be unspeakably thrilled to have half of the blessings I enjoy.
When did I stop appreciating them?
When did it become habit to complain instead of privilege to thank?
My child acted childishly. He should. He’s a child.
I’m not. What’s my excuse?
As I explained to my child, I now remind myself.
Gratefulness is a small blessing we express to those around us.
It’s an enormous blessing to ourselves.
Are you feeling grateful today? Is there someone you’ve been meaning to thank? How do you include gratefulness in your day-to-day life? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
It’s right there. It’s in front of us. It’s easy to see. It’s hip to talk about.
We stare at it, absorbing every decadent detail. There’s almost a perverse delight in some to feel the depths of the dark around them. It’s certainly easy to see.
But, look again.
Look past the headlines in the New York Times. Look past what CNN has instructed its camera guy to capture. See beyond the story the reporter from ABC is telling. They’re delivering what’s called for by the ever masterful public thirst for sensationalism. They’re doing a job, making a living
We’re building a life. We must look deeper.
Look at the people around you. Look at your world.
We must see what’s always there, even when it’s hard to see.
Even when it’s so small it seems insignificant.
There’s an old joke about how when we’re all finally the same color we can hate each other for the right reason – for the terrible people that we are.
Is that what we are? Terrible?
Is that what we do? Is the bad unavoidable? Insurmountable?
Although we must admit there is certainly the propensity for bad in each of us, to varying degrees, there is also a limitless potential for good. Whether you believe we were made in the image of a loving Heavenly Father or not, you can see the good in people.
Granted, it’s hard to find in some. Seems to have been completely extinguished in a few. But overall it’s there, in every one of us.
I miss seeing the good.
I think I’m out of the habit of looking for it.
We’ve been taught by so many elements in our culture that the bad, the painful, the perverse, are what matters. That what merits our time and discussion, what titillates our ears and perks up our eyebrows and grabs our attention should be painted with dark undertones.
I need to chase the good. My soul needs that refreshment. People around me need the boost.
I need to practice good, like any gift, to grow it. I must use it, chase it, develop it.
I need to both see and be the good in the world.
Let’s go there together.
What can you do to make one person’s day better today? Are you going to do it? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it..
Coming off a week filled with tons of kid activities to bounce between, moved up work deadlines, company visiting, and a lingering headache, I’m ready for some peace.
Peace and quiet would be great, but I know that isn’t going to happen. We’re just not a “quiet” kind of family. If it’s quiet, usually there’s trouble brewing or about to explode.
So, I’m focusing on seeing, feeling, sharing peace.
Inner peace to calm myself and my thoughts, my intentions and my ambitions, my body and my mind.
Outer peace to bring a wave of peace to my wild household, to my frantic teenagers, to my bouncy littles.
I don’t think it’ll ever be peaceful, in the strictest sense of the word, in my house. There are too many people for that to happen.
But, in the midst of the craziness and the hurriedness and the occasional pauses, we can still feel peace by remembering that we are Loved, that there are Plans, and that we were made for a Purpose bigger than ourselves.
I’m not in charge. I can only do what I can do, and that’s all I’m responsible for.
Remembering that brings me Peace.
What’s bringing you peace this week? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
I’ve been burning the candle at 5 different ends, so I’m thoroughly exhausted.
And, although I’ve had a lot of great things happen professionally lately, our family has been experiencing a season of strife, which weighs heavily on me every day.
Frankly, I’m sick of it.
It’s heavy and it’s hard. I’m tired of dealing with it, and I can’t see the end.
But, even though I can’t see it, I know the end of this mess will come.
One of my favorite phrases from the Bible is “It came to pass…” I cling to that.
It came to pass.
It did not come to stay. It came to pass.
This will pass. Things will change. They always do. Change is built into the fabric that everything is molded out of.
Knowing things will pass and change when everything is coming up roses, unicorns, and lollipops is not that exciting, but, right now that hope that this will pass, will change, helps me get through hard hours.
Hope is an amazing thing. It’s a Gift.
So thankful for hope!
Do you feel hopeful? Does the inevitability of change make you feel secure? What reminds you to have hope? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
One of the cool things about traveling so much this week is that it’s given me the opportunity to sit back and look at the scenery.
I often forget how important it is to nourish my soul by seeking out the beauty and encouragement found in the creation all around me.
We live in a beautiful place. All of us. Every one. Varied places. Cities. Towns. Countryside. Sometimes I get so busy that I forget to see what’s always around me.
Trees. Rocks. Waves. Clouds. Even a potted fichus or the tiny daisy pushing up through a crack in the sidewalk downtown.
It’s not just the green rolling hills or the vastness of the ocean that can source renewal. Even the pot spilling over with pansies in front of the skyscraper I auditioned in today can refresh me if I just take a moment to revel in how lovely and how amazing they are.
When I look at trees and flowers and rivers I can feel myself relax as I soak in both their beauty and the reminder that they were created uniquely with a purpose and so was I.
It’s amazing the change in my attitude, the release of stress, the gratitude I feel when I make it a point to see what’s around me, and to take a few slow, deep breaths, forcing myself to slow down and absorb it.
Beauty renews, refreshes, encourages.
Seeing that the trees can endure the storms of winter, surely, I’m reminded, I can handle those that blow my way as well.
And, if a bent, craggy stump can be more lovely than a sculpture, surely there is a beauty to be found in the efforts I make as well.
I hope what you see outside today will bring joy and encouragement to you.
What inspires you? What reminds you that there are great things when you’re feeling low? What takes your breath away? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.